Republicans hope to recruit 100 Hispanic candidates for legislative seats across the nation in 2012, looking to rebuild its bench of GOP officeholders.
The Republican State Leadership Committee, a group that works to elect Republicans to statewide and legislative offices, said Monday it intends to spend at least $3 million in hopes of sending more Republican Hispanic leaders to statehouses while making inroads with women voters and voters under age 30.
Hispanics accounted for more than half of the U.S. population increase over the last decade and Republicans said the demographic trends would have a major influence on the political landscape over the next decade.
"If we don't adapt now to changes that are taking place in the country, we will face a very different electorate in a couple of cycles than we do today," said Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman who leads the RSLC. "If we don't change our performance with some of these key constituencies, we'll have a very difficult time being a majority party."
Gillespie and others involved in the effort said they hope to build upon 2010, when Republicans helped elect several high-profile Hispanic candidates, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico.
The group plans to work with state parties and legislative leaders to recruit Hispanic candidates and support their campaigns. Officials said they would spend at least $3 million on the effort but could spend more if they have strong recruitment in states like Florida and Texas, where legislative races can be more costly.
Ken Thomas can be reached at http://twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas